I’ve done this project with kids as young as kindergarten and up to fifth grade, as an enrichment sort of project.
The timing is important, at least in Colorado. I love to do this project in the fall and ask students to bring in a leaf from home (in a Ziploc bag to stay fresh). But with a class rotation that can go on for a while, it can be tricky getting leaves that are soft and supple before it gets cold and the leaves get crunchy.
So, here’s the process.
Have students roll out a slab of clay. I’ve used a red body and a white body clay. It’s just a personal preference and sometimes dicatated by the type of glaze.
Students place the leaf bumpy side down on the clay. (One side of the leaf will have veins that are a little bumpier and more pronounced)
Either the students (or maybe an adult helper, if they are little) cuts the leaf out with a needle tool or a paper clip or tapestry needle.
Remove the excess clay and put the prettiest side of the leaf facing up in a bowl. Gently press the clay into the bowl, shaping the leaf.
Let dry and remove from the bowl. Fire – I usually use a clay that is fired 04 to 06.
Let students apply glaze and re-fire.
Some favorite glaze options: Mayco Elements Chunkies, and watercolor underglazes with a clear overglaze.
Students and parents both are always delighted with the end result! (me too)